May 28, 2022 – Cooking Lake, AB, Canada

Hello! This was my first year at the Blackfoot Ultra. The event hosts 25km, 50km, and 50mile distances. It is a 25km course. The 50k runners do 2 laps. The 50 mile runners do a short 5km out and back to get started and then do 3 laps of the course (80km). I was signed up for the 50km. This was my first time out at Cooking Lake and I had no problems finding the place. Cars were parked along the road leading to the parking lot and everyone was welcome to setup their tents and chairs along the corridor to the start/finish line. I found my running friends and dropped off my transition stuff where they were setup. There was a short pre-race briefing and then a count down and the race was on.

The course was nice soft ground with grass and dirt and rolling hills. No big climbs or decents. I decided to hike the ups and run the flats and downs to conserve energy. There were three aid stations on course. The first was just a water refill, that I skipped on the first loop and then the second and third were full aid stations with fruit, water, chips, tailwind, pop, and more. More than 2/3 of the course were fully shaded in the trees and there was only one fully exposed section about 3km long right before the second aid station.

This was probably the tallest hill on the course. As far as Ultra’s go, this is likely one of the most tame for conditions that you can expect to find. The course was well marked and I doubt that anyone got lost. I met a lady doing her first 50k and we ran the last 5km together into the end of the first loop. I refilled my water and refueled my gel supply, couldn’t find her and decided to head back out on loop 2. I was feeling fresh from conserving on the first loop and started running the up hills too on the second loop. The course is quiet away from roads and I listened to the birds and the frogs and even bumped into some volunteers that I knew.

I finished well and according to my planned finish time with no issues. I would highly recommend this race to anyone looking to do their first 50K. The 50 mile seems a little tougher because I am not a fan of running 3 loops, but if you always wanted to test yourself and become an Ultramarathoner, this is a great place to start. Race organizers were friendly, as were the volunteers. And, it is at a great time to kick off the running season. Cheers!